The world’s largest luxury tobacco products trade show took place August 9 – 12, 2010 in New Orleans, Louisiana. The IPCPR Show is the International Premium Cigar & Pipe Retailers Association’s annual trade show, where the industry showcases new products and retail tobacconists place orders.
This was the second year in a row the show took place in New Orleans, and it was the 78th annual show. New Orleans is certainly a great location for business and pleasure. You can smoke in the convention center all day, and gastronomic experiences abound throughout the French Quarter and beyond, all night. There are lots of happy faces as everyone seems to be working in a business that they love. PipesMagazine.com got the scoop on several new pipes and pipe tobaccos that have just arrived, or will be coming soon, but first, we have some good news and some bad news.
"How was the show?" is a question that is often asked about any convention, and in my experience at all kinds of shows you will get a variety of answers. It depends who you ask and how the show went for them. As you might imagine, the IPCPR Show is probably 80% related to the premium cigar business. I heard several complaints from the cigar side that the attendance was down and sales were down. (That’s not my bad news though.) Interestingly, while many of the cigar exhibitors were less than thrilled with their results, the pipe and pipe tobacco booths were completely slammed. The good news is that the pipe side of the business seems to be booming. The bad news is that I had a hard time getting to talk to some companies because they were so busy talking to retailers and writing orders. We have a lot of great information on new products, but not everything is included here because of the aforementioned circumstance. I actually went back to some booths 4 times in two days and they were always bombarded with retailers. But the show must go on …
My first stop just inside the convention center entrance was Altadis USA. Paul Creasy, General Manager of Altadis, was writing orders for the recently expanded Sutliff Private Stock line, which you can read more about here.
My second stop was the Arango booth. Arango distributes Nording Pipes and Ascorti Pipes, as well as accessories such as Woodmere Pipe Furniture. Erik Nording was showing his re-issued Zebra Pipes and his new addition to the Hunter Series.
The Zebra Pipe series was made over 30-years ago, and they are being re-introduced for the first time since. They are available now and retail for $80. This year’s new Hunter Series Pipe is The Bison. It comes in a smooth finish for $120 and a rusticated for $95.
Also inside the Arango booth was a large section devoted to Ascorti Pipes that are exclusively sold through the Tinder Box stores. Steve Glaze, Vice President of Franchise Operations for Tinder Box was generous with his time providing lots of information on Ascorti Pipes. They have an interesting history, and some beautiful high quality pipes.
Ascorti Pipes was started by Peppino Ascorti in 1979. Prior to that, Peppino was partners with Luigi Radice making the Caminetto Pipes. Before Caminetto, both Radice and Ascorti originally started with Castello back in the 1950’s. Tinder Box International has been importing Ascorti pipes since the beginning. Peppino passed away of a heart attack in 1984 when he was 57, and his son Roberto took over the company. Roberto now makes the Ascorti pipes and also revived the Caminetto brand. Tinder Box has been exclusive with Caminetto and Ascorti pipes for many years. Roberto makes about 700 pipes a year and Tinder Box receives the majority of them, while the balance is sold in Europe.
Ascorti and Caminetto pipes are all handmade, and there is a machine-made line called La Silvana created by Silvana Ascorti, Roberto’s wife. The La Silvana Pipes have suggested retails between $79.99 and $89.99. A basic Ascorti is about $170. There are a number of different finishes, such as the long standing Business finish. There is a new finish this year, called the Brash finish.
There is a Peppino Series that started in 2006 as a line of pipes that Roberto crafted to honor his father. The Peppino Series pipes are designated by the AP on the stamp, rather than just the A on the stamp. They’re stamped Ascorti Peppino and they represent the old, original shapes from the old Caminetto Pipes in the 70s. They come with a letter signed by Peppino’s wife, Paola Ascorti.
CAO / Dunhill Pipe Tobacco
(Quick Info on Dunhill Pipe Tobacco: It seems like availability will now be October 2010 and the demand is very high.)
The rest of the story …
Some big news in the pipe world recently was the announcement that Dunhill Pipe Tobaccos are returning to the American market. [You can see our original story on Dunhill Pipe Tobaccos here.]
As I entered the CAO booth, I was immediately greeted by a stunning, raven-haired, leggy local talent that strode up to me like she was walking the catwalk … (I momentarily forgot what I was there for and developed a slight stutter). When I told her I was interested in talking to someone about Dunhill Pipe Tobacco, she immediately pointed me to Tommy Yates, who happened to be standing right behind me smoking a CAO Meerschaum pipe. [Note: CAO no longer makes meerschaum pipes.] As you probably know, CAO is very much in the cigar side of the business, so it was a welcome relief to meet Tommy and see him smoking a pipe. I definitely had the right guy. I just wish the 6ft stunner stayed to hang out and chat about pipe tobacco with us, but she was off to greet someone else.
I originally learned about Dunhill’s planned return to the US in July while visiting the Orlik factory in Denmark along with Sykes Wilford of Smokingpipes.com. Interestingly enough, the guy at CAO that was giving me the update, Tommy Yates, worked in the same retail tobacco shop ten years ago with Sykes when they were both starting out in the business.
CAO has been getting so much interest on Dunhill Tobacco that they decided to hold up production so they could better gauge demand during the show. They received several large orders at the show. Because of this, the originally reported September availability has moved back to October. Even though they will be coming in a little later, the availability should be better.
I received samples of the new production and have already smoked Early Morning Pipe, Mixture 965, Nightcap and De Luxe Navy Rolls, and they are all AMAZING. Watch for reviews coming in the future.
Missouri Meerschaum – Corn Cob Pipes
For a company, and product line that’s been around since 1869, you’d think it would be hard to still come up with something new, but that is not the case. Missouri Meerschaum was showing their new line of Natural Corn Cob Pipes.
Normally during the manufacture of corn cob pipes, plaster-of-paris is applied as a fill, then the pipes dry for a day, and then they are sanded smooth. [Editor’s note: You can see the entire process with pictures and descriptions here.]
Lacquer is then added as well. The new Natural line is just the cob and the wood (and plastic stem). The retail prices are actually the same as the standard corn cob pipes. One might think they would be cheaper, but the reason it’s the same price is because they have to spend more time to make each pipe look prettier. The Corn Cob models that will be available in a Natural finish include: The General, the Diplomat, Freehand, Patriot and The Country Gentleman.
Savinelli is known for producing an extensive line of mid-range, to upper mid-range machine made and hand made pipes from Italy. They were showing several new pipes in New Orleans including the Tevere pipes which are named after the Tevere River in Italy.
Tevere Pipes have a gold or silver band, come in a smooth or a rustic finish and are gorgeous looking pipes at just $80 retail. Also new earlier this year to the Leonardo series is The Bombard. It’s a Poker shape with only 100-pieces produced of the smooth finish for $225, and 150-pieces of the rustic finish retailing at $170. It comes with a matching tamper that has a matching motif on the pipe. Another new line is the Saturnia range in 12 different shapes for about $90 retail.
Mac Baren Tobacco Company
Mac Baren has introduced a new line of "American-Style Aromatics" named, 7 Seas, which are strongly targeting the Captain Black and Lane 1Q / BCA markets. They are excellent quality aromatic blends, and anyone that enjoys the Lane blends, or Captain Black tobaccos should definitely try them. We asked Per Jensen of Mac Baren to explain the difference between American-style aromatics and Danish-style aromatics.
Per: First when you feel it [American-style aromatics], it has a velvet feel. It’s a very, very soft tobacco. In 7 Seas the heart of the tobacco is Cavendish, which also means it will be extremely mild. There will be no tongue-bite. It’s just a smooth smoke. On top of it, we have a lot of aroma that is very typical for the American blends or American tobaccos. They have a huge amount of flavor.
So when you smoke it you have a very flavorful smoke. You don’t taste the tobacco that much, but I assure you if the tobacco wasn’t right you would taste that immediately, because you cannot take bad tobacco and put flavor on it and expect it’s going to be a very good. That’s impossible. What you can do is, if you take some good tobaccos you can add flavor and those two will marry and then form into a fantastic product.
Kevin: What is the contrast between a Danish style aromatic versus an American?
Per: Take Mac Baren Mixture for instance, and feel it. It’s still soft, but it doesn’t have that velvet touch. That is because Mixture was designed 50 years ago. It was designed for another type of smoker. The casing on the aromatics are very low on Mixture compared to the 7 Seas. So, 7 Seas is really full aromatic while this is slightly aromatic.
Seven Seas is shipping now and should hit retailers in early-September, right around Labor Day weekend. It will be available in 100 gram tins, one lb bags and in bulk at your local retailer. (In bulk, you might not find it under Seven Seas because some shops will give it their own name.) Seven Seas will most likely be found priced slightly lower than Captain Black.
Peterson of Dublin
Peterson of Dublin is a well-known and widely popular brand with roots going back to 1865. They are the inventors of the patented "System Pipe", and continue to turn out dapper pipes, and wonderful tobaccos year after year. We had the pleasure of meeting Peterson’s Managing Director, Tom Palmer, while viewing this year’s line up of elegant new products.
Peterson Pipe of the Year and Special Reserve Tobacco
Each year, Peterson’s master craftsmen design and produce a select number of pipes in limited numbers, such as The Pipe of the Year. These pipes are particularly directed at the connoisseur who can recognize the characteristics of a product which is unique in its material, workmanship and styling. The smooth version of every Pipe of the Year is limited to 1000 pieces and each pipe is numbered and dated. The Pipe of the Year is available in 4 finishes -Smooth, Sandblast, Rustic & Ebony
Peterson Special Reserve Tobacco is available each year in a limited quantity of specially blended tobaccos which are produced in Germany by world renowned tobacco manufacturer, Kohlhase and Kopp.
Each year Peterson introduces a collection of new shapes and finishes to commemorate famous people, places or events, The "Writers" and "Mark Twain" Collection are two new collectables that Peterson has introduced for 2010. These collectables are available only for a limited time and should have a special appeal to the pipe connoisseur.
The Writers Collection was introduced to commemorate 4 famous Irish Writers – James Joyce, Bernard Shaw, William Butler Yeats and Oscar Wilde and these pipes are available in 4 finishes – Smooth, Sandblast, Rustic and Ebony.
The Mark Twain Collection, a set of 2 pipes was introduced by popular demand to commemorate the centenary of the American author and humorist (November 30, 1835 – April 21, 1910). One bent and one straight pipe – both are available in 4 finishes – Smooth, Sandblast, Rustic and Ebony.
Peterson Season Blends
To compliment the existing pipe tobacco range, Peterson has introduced 2 seasonal tobaccos in limited quantities – Summertime and Holiday Season. Each of these are blended to reflect the taste and aroma of the season be it Summer or Winter. This year Peterson also introduced a Christmas Pipe to accompany their Holiday Season Tobacco.
Viprati pipes are handmade in Italy by Luigi Viprati since 1972. In 2003 he started the Dali series to pay homage to the world-renowned surrealist artist, Salvador Dali. [Dali did actually smoke a pipe himself].
The 2010 Dali Pipe is based on the painting "Pierrot Playing the Guitar" (1925). It has a polished silver ring inset on the rim and stem. It is limited to individually numbered models, 200 pieces worldwide and has an acrylic mouthpiece.
The 2011 Viprati Dali Pipe is based on the painting "Mae West’s Face which May be Used as a Surrealist Apartment", (1934-35). A prominent representation in the painting is Mae West’s lips, and the Viprati pipe has the lips represented on the rim of the pipe.
Tim West made his first pipe in 1967 and went fulltime as a pipemaker in 1975. The namesake Tim West brand uses Grecian Briar and are fully handmade, personally by Tim. The new line named Old West Briar are pipes that are made from 50-year old Algerian Briar. They are started by apprentices, and then finished personally by Tim himself. Retail price points on Old West Briar are: $95, $125, $145, and $165.
Tim does all of his own drillings, stem mountings and shaping for the Tim West pipes. Contrasting the lines, the Old West Briar is driven by classic shapes. Billiards, apples, old style mariner pipe shapes, Dublin’s, most of the old style classic shapes are found in the Old West line. Tim West branded pipes are more freehand classic shapes. The ball shape is what Tim is best known for. There are variations of ball shapes, such as; cognacs, squashed tomatoes, apples, but the spherical ball shape is Tim’s trademark. They range in price from $175 to $600.
Stanwell always has something new and interesting in their product line, and this year’s attention-getter is the new Diablo Pipe.
It’s a Bing Crosby shape with a detailed stamping of a devil’s face on the stem. The Diablo comes with a convenient carrying case with the devil character silk-screened as decoration. It can easily be put in your pocket, and will keep your pocket clean if you are out and about and stop smoking halfway through a bowl. It’s an attention-getter when you set it on the table too.
The Stanwell Diablo pipes are estimated to be available in October. The smooth finish will retail for around $130 and the sandblast for about $90.
Stanwell also introduced a new Nanna Ivarsson shaped pipe which is a tribute to her grandfather, the famous Danish pipe maker, Sixten Ivarsson. Sixten was well-known for the egg shape, so the new Nanna shape is an egg as well as a tribute to him. Available finishes are smooth light brown and dark brown, and brown sandblast and black sandblast. They will retail between $200 – $240.
Stanwell Hans Christian Andersen Pipes – Stanwell has had six Hans Christian Andersen shapes that have always been popular. These are Churchwardens defined by their long stem. They are considered a "reading pipe" since the long stem keeps the bowl far enough away to avoid getting smoke in your eyes when you are looking down at your book … or Kindle … or iPhone. Until now, none of the pipes had a strong connection to Hans Christian Anderson other than the reading theme. The new HCA pipe is tied to one of his fairy tales called, "The Flying Suitcase". The Flying Suitcase is about a young boy who has a magical suitcase that he can fly in. He flies all around Persia. Paul Winslow shaped the HCA to match the theme of The Flying Suitcase and Persia. It comes with a suitcase style case with the first words of the story; "It was a wonderful trunk. As soon as one pressed the lock, the trunk would fly". The first 3,000 pipes will come in the special box.
There will also be a new series of Army Mount Pipes from Stanwell in various finishes and shapes.
Dunhill Pipes are only available to to certain authorized retailers, so they were not displayed on the show floor. They were in a private locked room upstairs where you needed a special invitation, a secret knock and the password.Arron Sissom, the President of Music City Marketing, Dunhill’s U.S. Distributor, was kind enough to tell me the password was "Swordfish" and the knock for the door was "Shave and a Haircut, Two Bits". Ok, I’m just kidding on the password and secret knock, but you did need a special invitation which I was lucky enough to get thanks to Mr. Sissom.
Kalmon Hener, Alfred Dunhill, Ltd.’s General Manager unveiled several astonishing new collectibles from Dunhill.
The Battle of Britain pipe is a limited edition project based on the Battle of Britain, which was the air fight between the British Air Force and the German Air Force (Luftwaffe) in 1940. Dunhill succeeded in securing material from the period to be used in the production of the series. A supercharger from the Rolls Royce Merlin engine was acquired. This was the engine that was used in Spitfires, the Lancaster Bomber, and Hurricane Fighter planes. The materials were melted down to make the tamper that accompanies the pipe. It’s shaped like propeller blades of a Spitfire airplane and it’s engraved with a quote of Winston Churchill which says, "Never was so much owed by so many to so few."
The pipes will have two finishes. The shape is an apple, which was very popular during the war. The two finishes are Shell Briar, and Bruyere. Both pipes are equipped with solid sterling silver bands which are engraved with the Spitfire plane on the top and the engraving, "The Battle of Britain" on the back. Each pipe is numbered. There are 100 pieces each worldwide for launch in October and what makes this edition even more special is the packaging, the box. The box is inspired by the cross section of a Spitfire wing.
Inside the box is a book, "The Spitfire Story", written by Peter R. March. The pipe will come with a limited edition certificate. The retail prices of the pipes will be $1,950 for the Shell Briar and $2,400 for the Bruyere finish.
The second limited edition is the Dunhill Christmas pipe. This is the fifth in a five year series which is based on Charles Dickens, "A Christmas Carol". The new model is called, "The Ghost of Christmas Future". It is a new bulldog shape which is a Group 4, but the head is slightly tilted forward, and the stem is tapered towards the end. It’s an elegant pipe with a minimalistic, modern looking sterling silver spigot mount engraved with, "The Ghost of Christmas Future". The finish is the County finish with Cumberland tapered mouthpiece.
The packaging is like last year’s Christmas pipe, which is the red book with green lining on the inside and it’s embossed with gold color saying, "The Ghost of Christmas Future Year 2010" and the edition number.
The third limited edition project brings back a pipe accessory from the 1920’s called a Pipe Caddy. It is an exquisite piece of pipe furniture that can hold eight pipes, four on each side. The lid opens to reveal the humidified tobacco jar. It comes with 20 pipe cleaners and also specially made pipe tools. There will be only 50 of each of the two models. Retail is $1,495.
There are two new sets of special pipes custom fitted into travel humidors with the inside fitted with suit fabrics from Savile Row.
The first set contains two Root Briar extra large collector pipes. The second pipes set contains one Cumberland Freehand extra large and a Freehand Dublin, XL size, but with a long stem like a Liverpool. The Root set retails just over $4,000. The sandblast set retails for just under $3,000.
Villiger Stokkebye International
Villiger Stokkebye was showing the new Villiger 1888 Pipe Tobaccos.
[Editor’s note:See our interview with Erik Stokkebye here.]
There are two aromatic blends. One is called Early Day, which is a classic English type blend, and there’s one called Mid Day and there’s one called Late Night.
They are available now from retailers and come in 50 gram tins.
Early Day Tin Description:
Mature golden Virginias blended with Oriental leaf and Latakia from the Balkan region. The rich share of Latakia makes this blend a true English classic with a characteristic smoky room note.
Mid Day Tin Description:
A mixture of double steamed Black Cavendish, blended with Burley, Orient, and light Virgina tobaccos. A delightful aroma and top note vanilla and exotic fruit make this a mild and pleasant smoke in the early afternoon.
Late Night Tin Description:
A classic mixture of bright Virginia from the USA, Africa and Brazil, blended with some fermented Black Cavendish. Genuine Irish whiskey and fresh honey provides this blend an exciting taste and flavor.
In the Peter Stokkebye line, there are two new bulk blends; Dansk Black, which is similar to Lane BCA and Golden Dansk, which is similar to Lane 1Q.
This covers many of the new pipe and pipe tobacco products unveiled at the IPCPR Show in New Orleans August 9 – 12, 2010. We hope you get the chance to enjoy some of them soon.